Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata)

This is a terribly lonely tortoise. It was removed from its homeland of Madagascar decades ago to this island (Bird Island) when the island was a coconut and papaya plantation, likely as a pet. Without a female companion it has not had the opportunity to reproduce and as such helped a critically endangered species hold on to existence. If that is not enough it was mistaken for a coconut and received a blow from a machete! Miraculously it only opened a hole in the shell on the top right side, visible on this photo. How it has survived seemingly without any health issues is astonishing. I wonder how water is escaping from this large hole, yet it must be as stale water locked in this hole would definitely cause problems over the decades.

I wonder why this lonely tortoise has not received a companion to mate with. That would have provided a small safe spot for this species, as wildlife traffickers are relentless in hunting down this species until there are no more left on this planet. The owners of Bird Island (privately owned since 1967) have proven over many decades they they are excellent protectors of wildlife, but for some reason this has not materialized in a companion for this critically endangered and lonely radiated tortoise.

The radiated tortoise can live for an extraordinarily long time, estimated at more than 180 years! That is an excruciatingly long time to be alone. In the meantime it is seeking brief encounters with humans.

Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata)

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